The Grounds for Filing for Divorce in New Jersey

What Grounds Can Be Stated? Do You Have to State a Reason for Filing for Divorce?

The Grounds for Filing for Divorce in New JerseyYour marriage isn’t working, but you can’t point the finger at either party. There’s been no marital infidelity and you haven’t been a victim of domestic abuse of violence. You’ve just grown apart. Can you still file for divorce in New Jersey? Do you have to have a specific reason to ask the court to terminate your marriage? The answer is no…sort of.

No-Fault Divorce in New Jersey

Technically, New Jersey is a “no-fault” divorce state. That means that, if neither party can be blamed for the divorce, you can still seek to dissolve your marriage. However, you must still give a reason for the divorce—you must state that you have “irreconcilable differences.” Furthermore, you must indicate to the court that you have had these “irreconcilable differences” for at least six months.

What Grounds Can You State for Divorce in New Jersey?

You can, however, specifically identify the cause of your impending divorce in New Jersey. Under state law, a number of specific grounds may be sufficient to warrant a judge to order a divorce:

  • Adultery or marital infidelity—New Jersey has an adultery statute. You must introduce evidence that your spouse was unfaithful. You must also be a resident of New Jersey for at least one year to claim marital infidelity as the grounds for divorce.
  • Extreme cruelty—There must be evidence of physical or emotional abuse that took place more than three months before the divorce complaint was filed
  • Addiction or habitual drunkenness—You must meet a residency requirement and you must typically show that your spouse was an active addict for at least one year without seeking treatment
  • Desertion—You must show that your spouse physically abandoned you (that you have not cohabitated) for at least one year.
  • Institutionalization—If your spouse has been committed to a mental institution for more than two years after the date of your marriage, you can seek to terminate the marriage
  • Imprisonment—You may seek a divorce based on the grounds that your spouse has been incarcerated for at least 18 months and that the period of incarceration occurred during your marriage
  • Deviant sexual conduct—Also known as “marital rape,” this allows a person to seek an at-fault divorce for certain non-consensual sexual acts

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Does New Jersey Impose Travel Restrictions for Minor Children in Divorce?

What Limits Are There on Traveling with Minor Children

Does New Jersey Impose Travel Restrictions for Minor Children in Divorce?We live in an increasingly mobile society, and that affects families of divorce in New Jersey. In the aftermath of a marital breakup, one of the parents may want to move, often for a better job or to be closer to family, or perhaps for a fresh start. Are there restrictions on the ability of a custodial parent to move away from the non-custodial parent? Are there limitations on either parent with respect to taking a minor child to another state?

Can a Custodial Parent Move Away from the Non-Custodial Parent after a Divorce?

The rules governing the relocation of a divorced parent of minor children differ, based on whether the parent is the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent. There are currently no laws in New Jersey that prevent a non-custodial parent from moving to another part of the state or from moving out of state. A custodial parent, however, may not do so without the consent of the other parent or the approval of the Court.

A custodial parent may relocate to another state with a minor child with the non-custodial parent’s consent, but should obtain that permission in writing. That’s not required, but will simplify matters if there’s a dispute. If the non-custodial parent refuses to grant permission to relocate, it may only be done pursuant to a court order. The Court must decide if the advantages to moving for the child outweigh the disadvantages.

Can Either Parent Take a Minor Child Out of New Jersey without Permission or Court Order?

A custody order may identify what must happen before a custodial or non-custodial parent can travel out of state with a minor child. In the absence of language in the divorce decree, either parent may take a minor child out of the state of New Jersey temporarily without the express consent of the other parent.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Wishing You And Yours A Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

No-Fault and At-Fault Divorce in New Jersey

The Impact of Marital Misconduct on Divorce

No-Fault and At-Fault Divorce in New JerseyA marriage may fail for many reasons. Sometimes, the parties change with the years and find they have less and less in common. Sometimes, one of the parties engages in bad or wrongful behavior—unfaithfulness or financial shenanigans—that irreparably breaks the bonds of trust.

In New Jersey, as in many states, when you file for divorce, you can choose to pursue a “no-fault” or an “at-fault” divorce.

What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce is one where neither party is required to cite specific grounds for the marital dissolution. To qualify for no-fault divorce, you must show that you have been physically separated for a minimum of 18 consecutive months or that you have had irreconcilable differences that have lasted for more than 6 months. Most New Jersey divorces are filed as no-fault divorces. For this reason, there’s a common perception of a “waiting period” for divorce in New Jersey.

What Is an At-Fault Divorce?

With at-fault divorce proceedings, one of the parties must provide a legal reason for the termination of the marriage. Commonly accepted grounds for divorce in New Jersey include:

  • Deviant sexual behavior
  • Desertion (actual or constructive)
  • Habitual substance abuse
  • Extreme mental or physical cruelty
  • Imprisonment or institutionalization
  • Adultery

As a general rule, fault will not be a factor in property or support disputes in New Jersey, but may be considered when determining custody and parenting time.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving 2022

The Best Interests of the Child Standard in New Jersey

The Factors the Court Considers When Determining Custody and Visitation

The Best Interests of the Child Standard in New JerseyIn a New Jersey divorce proceeding where there are minor children, the parties can work out custody and visitation arrangements without the intervention of the court. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the court will typically order the parties to participate in mediation, unless there are allegations or evidence of domestic violence. In either instance, however, the court will ultimately look for a solution that is “in the best interests of the child.”

What Will The Court Evaluate to Determine the “Best Interests of the Child”?

The court will typically look at a wide range of issues to ascertain whether a proposed custody and/or visitation arrangement is in the best interests of the child:

  • The safety of the child, as well as the safety of either parent from domestic violence or abuse by the other parent
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse by either parent
  • The extent to which each parent has demonstrated an ability to work cooperatively with the other parent in matters pertaining to the child and the child’s welfare
  • The amount of interaction each parent had with the child during the marriage
  • The extent to which each parent has indicated a willingness to take custody of the minor child and to grant the non-custodial parent permitted visitation
  • The child’s needs and the extent to which custody with one parent will better serve those needs
  • The stability of the respective parental homes
  • The geographic proximity of the respective parental homes
  • The child’s preferences, provided the child is old enough to make a sound decision
  • The age and number of children of the marriage
  • The relationship of the children with each other

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! 2022

Modification of Child Support Orders in New Jersey

What Is the Legal Process for Changing a Child Support Obligation?

modification-of-child-support-orders-in-new-jerseyCourts issue child support Orders. However, these are always open to modification. When can you ask the court to amend a child support order? What is the process for modifying an existing child support obligation?

The Standard for Getting Judicial Review of an Existing Child Support Order

If you want to modify the terms of your child support agreement, you must petition the court for a change and the judge must issue a new order. However, before the judge will even consider your motion to modify the existing child support obligation, you must demonstrate that either you or your spouse have experienced “changed circumstances.” In New Jersey, that means that you must show new circumstances that are:

  • Not temporary
  • Substantial
  • Unanticipated when the existing order was issued

The parent who seeks the change in the support order will have the burden of proving these elements. If you expect the changes to last for a limited period of time, or if the changes are expected, but haven’t occurred yet, the court will likely reject your request for modification.

If, however, you successfully convince the judge that the changes are not temporary, substantial and unexpected, your request will go to the next phase. At this point, the judge will ask for full financial information from both parties. Based on all the information provided and on any other relevant evidence, the judge will make a decision on the modification request, either rejecting it or issuing a new order.

When determining a new payment amount, the court can consider a wide range of factors, including:

  • The needs of the child
  • The income and assets of both parents
  • The standard of living of each parent
  • The potential earning capacity of each parent
  • The need and capacity of the child for education (including college education)
  • The age and health of the child and each parent
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

Alimony in New Jersey—The Basics

What Is It? What Factors Will Be Considered When Assessing the Need for Alimony?

Alimony in New Jersey—The BasicsThe end of a marriage can lead to concerns about your financial future, particularly if you were a stay-at-home spouse or your husband/wife earned significantly more than you did. Though alimony is not as common as it used to be, it can still be awarded in a New Jersey divorce proceeding.

What Is Alimony?

Alimony, spousal maintenance and spousal support are interchangeable terms that refer to a periodic payment made by one spouse to another, either on a temporary basis while a divorce is pending or for some period of time after a divorce is finalized. The intention of alimony is to minimize the likelihood that a divorce will have a far greater financial impact on one of the parties to the benefit of the other party. The goal in most cases where spousal support is awarded is to try to provide both parties with a lifestyle close to that enjoyed during the marriage.

What Are the Different Types of Alimony in New Jersey?

Most often, an alimony award is temporary. It may be for a specific period of time or it may be in place until a spouse gets the education or job training to be self-sufficient. If you’ve been married more than 20 years, you may actually be able to get open duration alimony, where the support order has an indefinite length.

What Are the Factors That Go into an Alimony Determination

When evaluating whether alimony is appropriate, a court in New Jersey may consider a wide range of factors:

  • Need
  • Ability to pay
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the parties
  • The potential earning capacity and employability of both parties
  • Whether either party has income-producing assets
  • Whether either party has parenting responsibility for minor children
  • Any other factor the court considers relevant

Modifying an Alimony Award

An alimony award is always open to modification when there has been a substantial change in either party’s circumstances, unless the parties agreed that no modifications would be allowed. Causes for modification can include substantial change in financial circumstances of a party, retirement from work, or cohabitation of the party receiving alimony. Remarriage of the party receiving alimony, and death of either party are also cause for termination of alimony by law.

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean in a New Jersey Divorce?

How Is Marital Property Divided in New Jersey? What Factors Are Considered?

What Does Equitable Distribution Mean in a New Jersey Divorce?When you’re ending a marriage, dividing the debts and assets accumulated over the years can be one of the biggest challenges. You can work out an agreement with your ex, but it will typically have to be submitted to and approved by the court. If you are unable to reach an accord, the judge will typically consider evidence and make a determination of how everything will be allocated.

When ruling on the distribution of the debts and property of a marriage in New Jersey, the courts use the legal principle of equitable distribution. The word “equitable,” however, should not be construed to mean “equal.” Instead, the court will attempt to produce a “fair” allocation of the obligations and assets of the marriage.

The Factors Considered in an Equitable Distribution in New Jersey

When deciding upon a fair division of a marital estate, the courts in New Jersey may consider any or all of the following:

  • The length of time the parties were married
  • The age of the parties at the time of divorce
  • The age and physical health of the parties at the time of divorce
  • The standard of living to which the parties were accustomed
  • Any income or property brought into the marriage by either party
  • Any prenuptial or prior written agreement of the parties regarding the allocation of marital debts and assets
  • The potential earning capacity of each party
  • Any contribution that either party made to the education, training or earning power of the other party during the marriage, or deferred career goals to allow the other party access to education or training
  • The contributions of either party as a homemaker
  • The extent to which either party was involved in the dissipation, depreciation or destruction of marital property, as well as the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of those assets
  • The potential tax consequences of a proposed property settlement
  • The extent to which one of the parties needs to occupy the marital home, such as when there are minor children at the time of divorce
  • The need to set aside funds for the medical or educational expenses of a spouse or child
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

Contact the Law Office of David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help. For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.